The Blue & Gold

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The Blue & Gold

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The Blue & Gold

Early Bird Wins the Race: Cross Country Runners Are Waking Up Extra Early to Escape the Heat

Jackson Ray
Pictured: Chamblee’s cross country team at the North Georgia Championships in Jefferson, GA on August 26, 2023

August of 2023 brought record high temperatures to Atlanta, which impacted sports all around the school, including cross country. Running can particularly be dangerous in extremely hot weather, causing heat-related illnesses. As a result, cross country coaches Ms. Jennifer Tinnell and Mr. Hakim Felts decided to hold earlier practices to keep their runners safe. Though waking up early for practices has been difficult, the runners, such as cross country co-captain Cooper Malone (‘24), understand the reasoning behind it.

“It was smart for us to have morning practice that week [when it was extremely hot] because it’s too dangerous for people to [potentially] overheat. In my freshman year, I threw up the first day of practice because of a heat flash,” said Malone.

Leanna Maender (‘26) explains that running in hot weather affects her morale the most.

“I get tired much easier [when it’s hot] and just don’t like being hot and sweaty. [Running in the heat] is not as fun and is mentally harder than running when it is cool,” said Maender.

The cross country runners have been waking up between 5:15 to 6:00 a.m. to get to their 6:15 a.m. practice, though some students enjoy these early practices more than their regular afternoon practice. One of these people is first-year cross country runner Maender.

“I actually like morning practice more than afternoon practice because you only have to wake up 45 minutes earlier, but you get home two hours earlier than you would if you went to the practice in the afternoon,” said Maender.

Fellow runner Jackson Ray (‘26) agrees, saying that he has also enjoyed the morning practices.

“Honestly, it’s kind of fun [to be] waking up early. It’s just a good start to my day,” said Ray.

Coach Jennifer Tinnell explains that these practices might become a weekly occurrence in attempts to avoid the heat. Not only is the team changing up their practices, but they also decided to hold a time trial or a timed practice in which each runner had to make a specific time, to keep the team at a manageable size due to the large amount of interest in joining the team. According to Tinnell, the boys had to run the 5K in under 26 minutes, while the girls had to run it in under 30 minutes.

“Either the time requirement was too high, or the runners [were] actually really prepared and wanted to make sure that they officially made the team, because we ended up with over 90 kids. I mean, all we can do is just be excited about it,” said Tinnell.

The runners have been working hard to stay in shape outside of practice, even with the hot weather conditions. 

“We had a meet this past Saturday, August 26, and it was one of the hottest Saturday mornings I’ve ever experienced with cross country. We saw a lot of kids from other schools getting sick, [but] I didn’t see [any] of our kids get sick,” said Tinnell.

Tinnell remarked on the strength of the team this year, saying that the new freshman runners are particularly talented.

“This might be the best we’ve ever been,” said Tinnell. “We have a lot of new runners who have been surprisingly good, so I see us doing well in both region and state.”

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About the Contributor
Finley Malone, Staff Writer
Finley Malone (‘26) is a sophomore and Staff Writer of the Blue and Gold. She hopes to be doing super cool college things with super cool college people in 5 years. Her three favorite things are Paint by Numbers, The Office, and her little angel of a cat, Pinkalicious.

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